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Racing with High Blood Pressure(9 posts)

Racing with High Blood PressureJohn-d
Oct 22, 2001 5:05 AM
I have in the last couple of years returned to cycling. I used to race back in the 50s/60s. I have been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure and take a fairly moderate medication to control it. As a result I bought a bike and after 35 year lay off am getting back to some sort of fitness. This is to assist with keeping the heart healthy.

I am retiring at the end of the year and intend to join a club and of course the thought of veteren racing has come to mind. Is anyone racing with HBP, any tips would be welcome. Should I go full bore (for my age - 62) or hold off? I am thinking of a max heart rate of say 150bpm.

The other thing of course is the nuisance value of the medication, frequent trips to the bathroom and all that. Any good ideas?
re: Racing with High Blood Pressuremorey
Oct 22, 2001 5:18 AM
I am taking Adalat and LoPressor. Racing and riding has not bothered me at all. In fact, riding and fitness has helped. However, I always take my meds. I am 58 yo.
re: Racing with High Blood PressureMel Erickson
Oct 22, 2001 5:56 AM
I'm working with my doctor to control my high blood pressure and have no limits on how hard I go. I've done a road and MTB race this year with no ill effects. I would suggest you ask your doctor. I would also suggest consulting a sports medicine doctor or a family doctor who understands the rigors of training and racing. Do you have a heart rate monitor? I would think this would be essential so you could train properly and keep in your zone. I use one and it is very helpful. From your last comment I assume you're on a diuretic. I am also on a very small amount of HCTZ (mainly for kidney stones but also for high blood pressure). I take two medications (ACE inhibitor and diuretic) so I can control the amount of diuretic because of the fluid loss it causes. I don't want to risk becoming dehydrated during hard training or a race. Also, who wants to pee any more than necessary during a race? I don't think high blood pressure, if it's under control, should limit your ability to train or race as hard as you want.
re: Racing with High Blood Pressurezero1
Oct 22, 2001 5:58 AM
i am 51 and soon to be 52...when i was 33 i was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was put on 4 pills a i bought a bike and started cycling and running and watching what i ate...i am no longer on any medication and i still bike and run...
CV Conditioning and HypertensionRich Clark
Oct 22, 2001 7:01 AM
You may well find, as many of us have, that increased cardiovascular fitness helps keep your blood pressure under control. Everyone's different, of course.

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably want to establish my maximum heart rate during a stress test, medically supervised. Your medications may well act as a "governor" (beta blockers reduce your heart rate, for example). Establishing your MHR empirically (ride up a hill until you faint) is not advised. But you do need to know your *true* MHR if you plan to base your training on it.

I have coronary artery disease and hypertension myself, and have been taking a bunch of medications. It has been necessary to monitor my blood pressure carefully (I highly recommend the Model UA-767V automatic BP monitor from A&D, by the way) and modify the balance and amount of medications as my fitness levels have changed.

Beta blockers in particular can also effect your athletic performance if your dosage is too high. Another good reason to become more fit, so you can reduce the dosage.

Medical supervision during all this is a must, IMO.

Good luck!

I've had no problems, but ASK YOUR OWN DOCTOR!!!cory
Oct 22, 2001 8:08 AM
I'm 56, with mild hypertension (140/90, in that range) controlled with diuretics. I've recently lost some weight and improved my fitness from just-better-than-average to pretty good, and my BP has dropped @ 8 points on each side. More to the point for you, though, my cardiologist wants me riding as much as I can--we used to run together until our knees got old, and now I see him around town on his bike. He's a fanatic about exercise and weight control for lowering BP.
Nothing but upsidescottfree
Oct 22, 2001 8:29 AM
Three years ago, after eight years off the bike and a 40-pound weight gain, at age 47, my blood pressure was hitting 150s over 90s. Declined doc's invitation to take meds, asked him to give me six months to lower it on my own. Got down the Univega, bought new tires, and strapped in.

After three years, at last check BP was 110/68. I credit the bike directly and indirectly, since I've also lost 48 pounds from all the road hours and am eating better just to feel better for cycling.

I'd say what you're proposing to do is exactly what you should do. Go for it.
Oct 22, 2001 12:26 PM
I find that I'm much less likely to have to get off the bike if I take my diuretic at least two hours before I ride. Take the diuretic and then hydrate to give your body time to eliminate some of that water. I find that if I'm not overhydrated when I get on the bike, any additional water I drink will be "used" and not reach my bladder. And I hydrate a lot on the bike.
Thanks to you all for your responsesJohn-d
Oct 23, 2001 7:37 AM
I found them both helpful and inspiring.

I have not been using this site for long, I only found it when looking for reviews on Cannondales. The advice in this forum is quality.

So, thanks again